Cressida Dick 'very sorry' for Met police's response to reports of missing sisters, murdered in Wembley
Independent report finds that the Met failed to provide an adequate level of service during the weekend the murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry went missing
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has apologised for her force's handling of reports that Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were missing. The two women were murdered in June 2020 in Wembley.
Ms Dick said: “My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Nicole and Bibaa for their tragic losses.
“The way we responded to information that Nicole and Bibaa were missing that weekend was below the standard we should have achieved and compounded the distress felt by their loved ones.
“While we know that very sadly Nicole and Bibaa had been murdered in the early hours of Saturday, 6 June 2020, before they were reported missing, if we had responded better we may have saved their friends and family immeasurable pain.
“I am very sorry that the level of service we provided fell short. We have contacted the family to ask if they will allow me or, if they prefer, another senior officer to visit them at a time that is right to apologise in person.”
The Met say they agree with the findings of a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct that found the level of service provided over the weekend Ms Smallman and Ms Henry went missing was below the standard that it should have been.
Although the report didn't find any misconduct from an individual officer, action will nonetheless be taken.
The Met say there was no suggestion that racial bias played a role in how the missing persons reports were dealt with.
A mandatory referral was made from the Met to the IOPC around how the force responded when the sisters were reported missing.
The IOPC says they then launched an independent investigation.
As a result of the findings an inspector, from the North West Command, and a member of police staff, a communications supervisor attached to Met Command and Control at Lambeth, must undertake ‘unsatisfactory performance procedures’. They will both attend formal meetings to discuss their performance and appropriate action going forward.
A second member of police staff, a call handler based at Met Command and Control at Hendon, will receive ‘management action’.
Another call handler, also a member of police staff, based at Met Command and Control at Hendon, will receive ‘management action’ for the conversation they had and their “dismissive” response when a friend of one of the sisters called police.
The IOPC investigation considered whether the police response was affected by the sisters’ ethnicity. After a comprehensive examination of police records, no evidence was found of stereotyping or biased assumptions based on the sisters’ race or where they lived.